Uproar in House as Parties Clash on Iraq Pullout
Republicans and Democrats slung insults on the House floor
in a debate over whether to withdraw American troops from
Prosecutor in Leak Case Calls for New Grand Jury
A new grand jury in the C.I.A. leak case could extend the
political cloud hanging over the Bush administration.
DeLay Ex-Aide to Plead Guilty in Lobby Case
Michael Scanlon's deal reveals a broadening corruption
investigation involving top members of Congress.
Halliburton Case Is Referred to Justice Dept., Senator Says
Pentagon investigators referred allegations related to a
Halliburton contract in Iraq to the Justice Department for
possible criminal investigation.
Mosque Attacks Kill 70 in Iraq; Hotel Is Hit, Too
It was the deadliest coordinated bombing in months, and
came after bombs exploded near a Baghdad hotel that houses
Not a good day on the news front, but I'm afraid we're reaping what we've sown at the voting booth.
One thing in particular stands out to me from the usual white noise background of corruption and spin. A furious personal denunciation of Democratic Pennsylvania Representative John Murtha and a calculated misinterpretation of his statement followed his emotional demand that U.S. troops should be withdrawn from Iraq. As has become commonplace in the age of Karl Rove, a politician's criticism of a governmental policy now begets livid ad hominem attacks, which in turn beget indignant character defenses, all predictably spiraling down to a sewer of name-calling and invective.
While I hesitate to call any politician "innocent," for this latest fracas I blame the Republicans, just as they deserve scorn for the unconscionable "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth" chapter of the last election, and their calculated attempt to smear John Kerry's character as an electoral strategy.
This is the lowest I have seen governmental functioning in my lifetime.
Murtha's demand was the heartfelt assessment of one man who has worn the uniform, the personal opinion of one elected official. It is his right, his obligation, his duty to speak his mind. And his view strongly echoes the sentiments of very many citizens of this country.
The response of the Republican machine to this firestorm was to put forth a hastily-drawn resolution demanding the immediate withdrawal of all U.S. forces in Iraq, something they knew would fail overwhelmingly, something they had no interest in effecting, and something not advocated by Murtha nor even a majority of the war's critics. It was another episode of calculated, dirty, political wrangling, plain and simple. To call John Murtha a coward and a fool is to hurl the same epithets at everyone who shares his sentiments. This is not how we should be getting things done. And indeed precious little is getting done.
I've said it before: I know that politics is a dirty business, and neither party is immune to stooping as low as need be to get the job done. But in my opinion the stooping has never been lower than what we're seeing now, and at just the moment when the debate should be the most serious. The issues on our table at this juncture, and the consequences of these policies are as far-reaching and monumental as anything tackled by government in my lifetime. That makes for high emotions, I suppose. And I suppose a Bush supporter would argue that when one is trying to accomplish something as ambitious as what Bush seems to envision in the Middle East, the friction will run high and resistance will be stiff. But even if I grant them a noble and difficult mission aspiration--something about which I remain unconvinced--then this resort to the basest of politics and the administration's failure to build workable alliances seems the more inexcusable. Every fool has a utopian vision. The trick is to do the impossible work to bring utopia to us.
Sorry to say it again: but at each turn this administration appears to be an abject, disastrous failure.